Wishing You Cheer, Tradition and Many Not-So-Silent Nights of Joy

The McGarrigle-Wainwright clan is upstairs sound checking for tonight’s performance.

I just popped up for a minute and caught a few strains of “Silent Night” being sung in German and it finally felt like the Christmas season is actually here. It was a nice moment of stillness in a time that’s not very still. It’s such a pleasure to be able to share these two special holiday performances with our audience this weekend and I hope you find a similar moment of stillness tonight and tomorrow night.

We can’t promise silence though, it will be a very not-so-silent night of great music and joy.

It’s been a busy couple of months at CAP UCLA and an extraordinarily busy year. So much has changed, including our name, but there’s also quiet confidence in knowing that the way we value the work and influence of great art and artists remains a constant.

It made me think about the holiday season in general and how much this time of year is simultaneously about tradition and change.

We nostalgically embrace old traditions even as we invoke new ones.

The world changes every year. We age, we lose people we love, we revel in the experiences and moments and people that inspire us—those things that buoy us during times of hardship and loss and add a special glimmer to the good times.

We’ve lost a few artists we love this year, most recently Ravi Shankar, who changed the world with his unique voice and innovation around ancient traditions. For so many decades, he touched so many fellow artists’ lives that his influence permeates the entire culture of music. Ravi performed in Royce Hall in the 1980s and his great spirit will undoubtedly continue to be felt here by the performers who come next.

More tragically, we also said goodbye this year to the stunning young jazz musician Austin Peralta, far too quickly after we said hello to him in his October 25 performance at Royce Hall. Still, his burgeoning talent and great presence lingers in the music he left behind and the people who were and will continue to be awed by him.

Rufus and Martha Wainwright and their family and friends upstairs are gathered in celebration of tradition and change, the tradition of joining together as a family to honor the season through song and also to lovingly remember their late mother Kate McGarrigle, whose lack is a change that is still keenly felt.

We’re very proud to be a part of this special event that really encapsulates what the holidays are about.

We’re also proud of the changes we’ve gone through as an organization in 2012 and we’re proud of the traditions we’ve kept and built upon.

There’s much more ahead, many more artists and traditions to discover and perpetuate and we can’t wait for what’s in store in 2013.

In the meantime, our hope for you is that your holiday season is filled with joy, wonderment and many exchanges of kindness.

Cheers to 2012 and see you next year!